By FRANCO PANIZO
If Aston Villa is to snap a two month-long winless streak and distance itself away from the relegation zone this weekend, the Villans will likely have to put forth one of the best performances of their season.
They play Chelsea, after all.
Aston Villa is in for a tough battle on Saturday, as it attempts to end a demoralizing eight-game run without a victory against the league-leading and star-studded Blues. Brad Guzan and the Villans are coming off a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Arsenal, but will need to completely forget about that defeat if they wish to pull off a massive upset. What’s going in Aston Villa’s favor is that the game is being played at home, but the 16th-placed club will need to resolve its recent scoring issues and find the back of the net for the first time in seven matches if it is to dream of grabbing three points.
While Guzan will be trying to prevent goals, Aron Johannsson will aim to score some. Johannsson has netted in back-to-back games, including in Thursday’s Eredivisie win over Ajax, and can extend that streak with another tally in AZ Alkmaar’s road tilt against Groningen on Sunday. Giving him more motivation is the fact that AZ is currently five points shy of a UEFA Champions League qualifiers spot, so a win could help them move closer to place in the lucrative tournament.
The 2. Bundesliga returns from its winter break this weekend, and for Alfredo Morales that means a shot at solidifying his side’s first-place standing. Ingolstadt enjoyed a strong opening half to the campaign, and is keen on getting 2015 off to a good start with three points against SpVgg Greuther Furth on Friday. The match could pit Americans against one another, as Jann George eyes a second appearance for Greuther Furth.
Here is who the Americans Abroad take on this weekend:
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach play Schalke 04.
Bobby Wood and FC Erzgebirge Aue play Terrence Boyd and RB Leipzig. (Boyd is out injured.)
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play Jann George and SpVgg Greuther Furth.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America play Morelia.
DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Gedion Zelalem and Arsenal. (Yedlin is with the U.S. Men’s National Team.)
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Chelsea.
Tim Howard and Everton play Liverpool. (Howard is out injured.)
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Brighton & Hove Albion.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers. (Whitbread is out injured.)
Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City. (Hyndman and Packwood are out injured.)
Oguchi Onyewu and Charlton Athletic play Middlesbrough.
Danny Williams and Reading play Wolverhampton Wanderers.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Mainz 05.
Joe Gyau and Borussia Dortmund play SC Freiburg. (Gyau is out injured.)
Julian Green and Hamburg SV play Hannover 96.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sanhausen play St Pauli.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play PSV Eindhoven.
Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Michael Orozco, Herculez Gomez and Puebla. (Torres is out injured.)
Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana play Jaguares de Chiapas. (Garza is out injured.)
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City play Newcastle United.
Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt play FC Augsburg.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Nice.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play FC Groningen.
Edgar Castillo and Atlas play Universidad de Guadalajara.
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? What are the chances that Guzan and the Villains get a result? Confident that Johannsson will score again?
Share your thoughts below.